Getting the most from an IT provider

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Picture it: you’ve decided that you’re interested in hiring a Managed Service IT Provider to help with your IT needs, so you put ‘MSPs in my area’ into a search engine and discover hundreds of options all claiming to be the best in the business.

But appearing at the top of Google doesn’t necessarily indicate quality, and there are a huge range of factors to consider when choosing an MSP who will fit your business’s IT requirements, and who you can build a strong working relationship with. Luckily, we’re here to go through some tips on what you should be looking for in your IT provider, as well as getting the most from them once you begin your IT journey together.

Finding The Right Provider For Your Existing Team

It’s something of a stereotype that IT professionals are known for generally keeping to themselves and getting on with their work, but you’ll still need to make sure that any MSP you choose to bring into your working environment can get along with your current team. Otherwise, you could be facing some serious problems arising from the simple issue of poor communication, such as arguments over the allocation of duties, or contrasting opinions on how a task should be handled.

To prevent this, you should know that the MSP you choose to work with is willing to put in the effort to work in conjunction with your team, completely aware of whose responsibilities are whose. Although you may find that some projects are better when outsourced, while others are best kept in-house, it’s best for either side to know who’s doing what, no matter where they are.

Creating The Perfect SLA Together

When first speaking to a potential MSP, you’ll find that the basis of all the support they provide to you is tied to your decided SLA (or Service Level Agreement), a contract detailing every one of your IT needs that they’re legally promising to take care of.

You may find that they offer you some pre-made packages, but don’t just take these without alterations; every business is unique, and you’ll likely have requirements that aren’t covered by the basic deal they suggest to you initially.

To make sure that your SLA is exactly right for your company, you need to have a few detailed conversations with your MSP where you go over what you need, what they can provide, and how much they’ll be charging for these services.

Making Sure Your Needs Are Covered

Here’s a nightmare scenario for any business owner: you go into the office after a holiday, only to find that the IT systems have been down since the night you left. Luckily, by hiring an MSP, you can completely avoid situations like this – and the high costs that come with them.

A large proportion of MSPs can provide a system monitoring service that provides staff with the ability to constantly keep track of your IT system through an application, letting you know if anything has gone awry. This can save you thousands in downtime costs, which can spell the end for many businesses every year.

Although you might find that some businesses don’t need this type of 24/7 support, if you rely on your IT systems to stay afloat, it’s certainly a service that you’ll want to look into.

Choosing A Provider With Ambition

While you may not be seriously planning any huge expansions in the next year, it’s still vital to make sure that any MSP you choose can keep up with your desired level of growth. But why is that? Doesn’t an MSP just keep an eye on your IT system?

Once you hire an MSP, you’ll be surprised at just how fast they become an essential part of your daily life, from fixing the errors they come across and helping you take advantage of the latest technologies, to making important contributions at significant meetings. Unlike some suppliers you might have, you can’t simply sever ties with your MSP during a quick phone call – and you don’t want to be in the position of trying to break away from an MSP that holds you back.

To dodge this awkward and costly situation, you’ll want to establish your plans for future growth early on with them, and find out more about their own ambitions. You could even present them with some different scenarios to judge their reaction – for example, what would they do if you unexpectedly landed a contract worth millions?

You can bet that every successful corporation operating today has taken advantage of IT developments as they come across them, and they’ll have needed a significant amount of support along the way from ambitious IT providers to do that.

Trusting Your Chosen Provider

In researching a IT provider, you might be able to see that they’ve worked with a huge range of diverse companies, but what really matters is whether they’ve been hired by a company similar to your own, and how that working relationship has continued to this point. Although finding an MSP who has worked with a business totally identical to yours is completely unrealistic, finding one with experience in working with a business of your size or in your industry is invaluable. Ultimately, this can be the thing that decides whether or not your two companies are going to be able to work alongside either other.

Essentially, this means that they understand where you’re coming from – they know what you do, and what you’ll likely be wanting from them as you move forward together, even if they don’t know every detail of your company yet. You can check for this experience by requesting testimonials from companies they’ve worked with who are similar to yours, or for contact details from these businesses so you can get in touch without the MSP as a middleman – just one account of an MSP’s services from a business like your own should indicate whether you would benefit from hiring them yourself.

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